A lot of these little things (I have a really long typed out list if anyone wants me to post it) have left me rather confused as to what this site assumes in relation to the asker's understanding/knowledge of Judaism and what (if any) confines one should stick to when answering?

Meaning that if someone asks "Can I drive on Shaboss?" is the answer "no" or is it "According to the Orthodox movement no, and according to the conservative movement yes."

(I understand that this is a case which is difficult to extrapolate from but I am using as more a general direction thing to help clarify what I'm asking.)

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    I think meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/472 covers this question handily.
    – msh210 Mod
    Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 6:20
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    This question is moot unless we allow questions that ask for piskei halakhah. Commented Jul 19, 2012 at 21:44
  • @AdamMosheh Why?
    – b a
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 3:20
  • @ba - judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9146/… Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 16:22
  • @AdamMosheh, See the last part of lo.yodeya.com/2010/01/more-from-linkedin-what-if-crowd-is.html for my take on the value of discussing Halachic questions not in the context of pesak.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 16:52
  • @IsaacMoses I'm not able to see that link. "Couldn't find lo.yodeya.com The Q&A site lo.yodeya.com doesn't seem to exist…yet."
    – b a
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:07
  • @ba Sorry about that. It looks like we have some work to do on the DNS front. Try yodeya.blogspot.com/2010/01/…
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:09
  • @IsaacMoses It says it's not hosted by Blogger and gives the original link. Can you see it? Maybe I should delete my cookies or cache or something?
    – b a
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:10
  • @ba Oh, well. No, the problem's not with you, it's with how I have that blog set up and/or how SE has the DNS for yodeya.com set up. See the content below.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:13
  • @AdamMosheh, Here's the content: "In the realm of Halacha, discussing a question with a crowd of your friends (or reading someone's past discussion): a) can help you understand what the issues are and what you need to ask your rabbi about; b) can, in some cases, tell you authoritatively what the right answer is (e.g. Q: "What blessing should I make when putting up a mezuza?" A: "See this page in this authoritative siddur."); c) can point you to sources for further self-education (which is always a good thing); and d) in general, is valuable in the sense of learning Torah for its own sake."
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Jul 27, 2012 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


There's been a lot of discussion here, here, here, and probably elsewhere about scope. I want to address the other part of your question:

what this site assumes in relation to the asker's understanding/knowledge of Judaism

The site doesn't globally assume anything in terms of knowledge, but every poster has to pick a starting point. Unless the question makes it clear that the asker is a novice, an answerer's starting point usually assumes basic familiarity with tanakh, knowledge of common halacha as practiced today, and ability to recognize/follow citations in common sources like Shulchan Aruch. However, any assumption like that will be wrong some of the time and this site is for all who are interested, not just those who are already knowledgable, so it is not only ok but encouraged to ask for clarification. If you don't understand an answer in Hebrew, ask for a translation (or summary if it's long). If you don't recognize a source, ask what it is. If you don't follow an argument (because, say, the poster skipped some intermediate steps), ask for clarification. If you've heard something different, ask about it (or if you can support it, offer your own answer).

Nobody should ever walk away from Mi Yodeya thinking "those guys are too advanced for me".

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    +N (for N = my max voting ability). Thanks for making this clear. It might even make sense to include some of this language in the FAQ.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 17:11
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    If only N -> oo
    – Double AA Mod
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 17:54

I believe that the main assumption in relation to Jewish Law when one uses this site is that a person will consult their Local Orthodox Rabbi after reading something here before acting upon it.

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